FASHIONS OF THE MODEL A ERA

By Bob Hensz

Bob Hensz
Bob Hensz
Fashion Editor

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As hard as it may seem, October is finally here and with it the hint of some cooler Model A Tours. Back in the day though, the heat was really not considered as much, especially in areas a bit north of us. And during the Model A era, I am rather confident that they were just thrilled to be in a Model A going out for dinner, or dancing, or both.

ladies wear

Our featured fashion this month is not dedicated to a Halloween couture, not any costume for that matter. Instead we will focus on the attire of a young lady who is obviously headed our for an evening on the town. Probably out for a gala event, which I would not be surprised if it did include both dinner and dancing. The young lady is fully attired for the Model A era – from head to toe. At the first glance you might notice the fur, but then you eyes may be drawn to the hair as even that is in a period style. Her hair is parted on the left side and is kept closer to the head, but is in waves. As it is drawn to the back, it is punctuated by a group of small curls along the side and back extending down to the nape of the neck in a swirled effect.

The dress is a black frock extending to just below the knees and has a lace jacket with full-length lace sleeves, open front, and which extends down below the hips. It also appears to have a lace overskirt extending to about six inches below the dress.

The shoes are a plain black leather pumps with about a two inch lift at the heel, and her hose have the seam up the back with a black “barred” decoration.

She is carrying what appears to be a long natural fox fur stole/wrap and a small black clutch-type purse with a gold chain and gold clasp. The long necklace is of graduated pearl luster round and tube shaped glass beads (the largest about ½ inch) strung on a white cord.

With this attire, she is ready for dinner with a gentleman driving his Model A town car!

Bob Hensz is a member of the Brazos Valley A's Model A club in Texas.


GENERAL FASHION OVERVIEW OF THE MODEL A ERA

By Ginger Wentrcek

This fashion overview will remain pinned to this page for a quick reference. Be sure to check out Bob Heinz's articles for a more detailed explanation of the fashions of the Model A era.

DRESSES
The boyish look was popular and waistlines dropped to the hip area during part of the 20's; however, it rose back to the normal waistline position during the 30's. Dresses in the 30's were often cut on the bias.

HATS
Made of wool or different types of straw, a cloche was placed on the head and pulled low over the forehead. This helmet-styled hat created such a harsh look on most women that it went out of style around 1930. By the 30's, hats in a wide variety of styles were in vogue once again. Hats had large brims or short brims, some were tilted at an angle, and the hair could be seen once again. Hats looked much more flattering in this decade.

HAIR
Big hair was out and short, boyish looking hairdos were stylish during the 20's. Many times, the hair had a curl at ear level. By the 30's, the length of the hair was a bit longer, and it had a soft and wavy effect. During these decades, no respectable woman would dare color her hair.

MAKEUP
Pluck those eyebrows and put on some really red lipstick --- the lady of the 20's was ready to step out. Lips painted in the shape of a heart, known as bee-stung lips, were popular in the 20's, but by the depression time of the 30's, lips were painted outward with straight lines. However, eyebrows were still plucked to a fine line and drawn in with a pencil.

HEMLINE
Up and down can best describe the length of the hemlines during this period. Hems stayed at the lower calf level from 1920 but it zoomed up to just below the knee in 1925. By 1929 it fell back to the lower calf level. During the 30's, hemlines were longer than the 20's, and they were often uneven, with the back of the dress or skirt being longer than the front.

SHOES
T-bar type shoes or one with an ankle strap was considered fashionable during the decade of the 20's. There was a wide variety of shoe styles during the 30's. Heels and flats might have round toes, thick heels, different tones, or straps.

MEN'S CLOTHING
A well dressed man during the 20's started to wear suits, often made of flannel, which had small lapels, cuffed pants, and shoes that laced up. However, knickers and canvas shoes were also worn. During the early 30's, shoulder pads were placed in men's suits in order for their shoulders to appear larger. Men also wore hats.

CHILDREN'S CLOTHING
During the 20's, it was a time for babies to get comfortable and all the frilly frocks were replaced with little rompers and shorter dresses. Older girls wore loose outer garments and sweaters.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND PERMISSIONS
Kathleen Songal, owner of Best Vintage Patterns, and the McCall Pattern Company, who also own Simplicity patterns, have graciously given Brazos Valley A's permission to reprint the pattern photos. Best Vintage Patterns can be accessed here.

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